Daily Archives: 1 Jan 2019

It’s Zwingli’s Day, So He Gets the Last Word

And its a word concerning one Clichtove, Bishop of Chartres, France whom he calls “a theologian taking the Sacred Writings in hand like a donkey running a solemn ceremony.”

There are a lot of Clichtove’s about now.  A lot.

John Goldingay’s ‘Isaiah for Everyone’ – Free

It’s this month’s free book from Logos.  Get it.

Today With Zwingli: Rumormongering Catabaptists

zwingli9093On 12 February, 1526, Zwingli wrote this letter to the folk at Appenzell

“Grace and peace from God to you, respected, honoured, wise, clement, gracious and beloved Masters: An exceedingly unfortunate affair has happened to me, in that I have been publicly accused before your worships of having reviled you in unseemly words and, be it said with all respect, of having called you heretics, my gracious rulers of the State. I am so far from applying this name to you, that I should as soon think of calling heaven hell. For all my life I have thought and spoken of you in terms of praise and honour, gentlemen of Abtzell, as I do to-day, and, as God favours me, shall do to the end of my days.

But it happened not long ago when I was preaching against the Catabaptists that I used these words: ‘The Catabaptists are now doing so much mischief to the upright citizens of Abtzell and are showing so great insolence, that nothing could be more infamous.’ You see, gentle sirs, with what modesty I grieved on your account, because the turbulent Catabaptists caused you so much trouble.

Indeed I suspect that the Catabaptists are the very people who have set this sermon against me in circulation among you, for they do many of those things which do not become true Christians. Therefore, gentle and wise sirs, I beg most earnestly that you will have me exculpated before the whole community, and, if occasion arise, that you will have this letter read in public assembly. Sir, I assure you in the name of God our Saviour, in these perilous times you have never been out of my thoughts and my solicitous anxiety; and if in any way I shall be able to serve you I will spare no pains to do so.

In addition to the fact that I never use such terms even against my enemies, let me say that it never entered my mind to apply such insulting epithets to you, pious and wise sirs. Sufficient of this. May God preserve you in safety, and may He put a curb on these unbridled falsehoods which are being scattered everywhere, which is an evidence of some great peril—and may He hold your worships and the whole state in the true faith of Christ! Take this letter of mine in good part, for I could not suffer that so base a falsehood against me should lie uncontradicted.”*

*S. Jackson, Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531) (pp. 250–251).

Signs of the Times: The Zwingli Anniversary Edition

Question: How Do You Prove that You are Guilty of Bibliolatry?


Call For Submissions

Send along your suggestions for the Biblical Studies Carnival.  It’s going to be neat!  And yes, it’s the official Carnival for January (posting 1 February, 2019).

A Blast From the Past: The 1984 Celebration of Zwingli’s 500th Birthday

With thanks to Pat Graham of Emory for this lovely gift-

Zwingli’s Books

From Brill’s facebook page-

Today marks the 500th anniversary of the Swiss Reformation, ignited by the theologian Huldrych Zwingli. On 1 January 1519, Zwingli began to preach at the Grossmünster Church in Zurich. Zwingli was an avid reader, who during his lifetime amassed an impressive library. More than 200 books from his library, often heavily annotated, have been catalogued by Urs Leu and Sandra Weidmann in “Huldrych Zwingli’s Private Library”. Together, they open the door to Zwingli’s study and to the intellectual world of a highly influential reformer.

Happy New Year; may it be filled with many books!


On Zwingli’s Birthday- A Film

For your viewing pleasure-

Things Zwingli Wrote that You Should Read, And a Random Map


Zwingli Assumed the Pastorate of the Great Minster on 1 January, 1519


But his name wasn’t the only one in consideration…

Strong as was the sentiment in Zurich in favor of Zwingli, there were not wanting those who from the start opposed his election. A personality so aggressive could not fail to make enemies.

Many hated him because of his views on the subject of foreign pensions; others whose sympathies were thoroughly Roman suspected his loyalty to the Church, and caught a faint vision of what his coming to Zurich would mean.

The opposition, though bitter and determined, because of the fewness of their numbers despaired from the start of accomplishing anything. As soon as it was known that Zwingli was under consideration several candidates were put forward for the place, and among them one Lawrence Fable, who preached a sermon in the Great Minster, and of whom the report was circulated that he had been chosen.

Zwingli at first was inclined to credit the report. Hitherto he had appeared quite indifferent to what was occurring at Zurich. The knowledge that unworthy persons were seeking to supplant him seems to have acted as a stimulus. At any rate, he now became interested to the extent of writing to Myconius in regard to his prospects. In a letter under date of December 2, 1518, assuming the truthfulness of the report with respect to Fable, he says,

“Well! I know the significance of popular applause. A Swabian preferred to a Swiss! Truly, a prophet is without honor in his own country.”

Myconius in reply the next day removes his false apprehension. “Fable will remain a fable; for they have learned that he is father of six boys and holds I know not how many livings.”  He then proceeds to assure him of the number and strength of his friends, and of his own unceasing activity in his behalf. He does not conceal from him the doings of his enemies, and mentions certain charges that were being circulated against his character.

“Although there is no one,” he says, “but praises your teachings to the skies, there are certain to whom your natural aptitude for music appears to be a sin, and thence infer that you are impure and worldly,” Again, he assures him that he has great reason to hope. “It is right that you should take courage and not despair. Even the canons who are opposed to you predict to themselves that you will be the next preacher.”

He closes with the exhortation, “Hope on, for I hope.” The election took place on the 11th of December, 1518, and Zwingli was chosen by a large majority. This event caused great rejoicing among his friends, except those at Einsiedeln, for whom it was a matter of the keenest regret.

The administrator of the Abbey, Baron Geroldseck, whose relationship with Zwingli had ripened into the warmest of friendships, was especially affected. Even the council of the canton were impressed to the extent of transmitting to Zwingli a letter of regret couched in the most respectful terms.*

Swabians… seriously?

*Samuel Simpson, Life of Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Patriot and Reformer (New York: Baker & Taylor Co., 1902), 71–73.

Read Some of Zwingli’s Letters on His Birthday

Karl Barth Riding the Coat-tails of Zwingli

Barth, never one willing to play second fiddle and never satisfied with being second-rate, he just had to have his own ‘Year’ and it just had to be in 2019 when we were already observing the Zwingli-Year.

“Das Leben ist kein Theater, es will unsere Teilnahme, wir müssen seinen Wert herausarbeiten, oder wir ersterben in Langeweile. Es ist schon dafür gesorgt, daß uns Vieles entgeht, aber wir sollen wach sein.” (Karl Barth, Predigten 1915, GA I.27, 538). Zum Karl-Barth-Jahr 2019 gibt es ab sofort jede Woche am Dienstag ein Zitat des Theologen als Impuls für die Woche. Aktuelles zum Jubiläum findet ist hier zu lesen: www.karl-barth-jahr.eu   Auf ein gutes Neues Jahr 2019!

Oh Karl, no matter how hard you try, you will never be Zwingli (or Luther, or Calvin, or even Brunner for that matter).


A New Volume for the Barthians

Karl Barth: Bilder und Dokumente aus seinem Leben. From our friends at TVZ. I’m very confident it is something that will interest Karl’s friends.

Why Zwingli Still Matters

Reformiert has a great little essay today highlighting the abiding significance of Zwingli in this, the anniversary of his birth, the 500th anniversary of his assuming leadership of the Zurich church, and the kick off of the year long celebration of that anniversary.  Give it a read.

Theology of the Old Testament

From V&R.

Michaela Bauks zeichnet in diesem Lehrbuch zur Theologie des Alten Testaments die impliziten theologischen Konzepte des Alten Testaments nach. Altorientalische Traditionen, literargeschichtliche Entwicklungen und bibelhermeneutische Überlegungen werden behandelt, auch die kirchliche und schulische Praxis wird eigens berücksichtigt.

Das Lehrbuch präsentiert die zentralen theologischen Themen der hebräischen Bibel in der Reihenfolge der gegebenen Grundformen. Zur Erzählung, zum Recht, zur Prophetie, zum Kult und zur Weisheit finden Interessierte bei Bauks die zentralen Informationen. Im Kern geht es Bauks um die verschiedenartigen Offenbarungsformen Gottes gegenüber den Menschen und seinem Volk. Neben literargeschichtlichen Aspekten und innerbiblischer Entwicklungslinien finden daher auch die traditionsgeschichtlichen Parallelen und altorientalische Traditionen Berücksichtigung.

Im Detail werden die Themenkreise Monotheismus, Götterbild, Gottesname, Gottes Königtum, Eschatologie und Geschick Israels verhandelt. Anhand dieser Themenbereiche wird die Gottesvorstellung der hebräischen Bibel systematisch vertieft.

Der Bezugsrahmen der „Heiligen Schrift“ wird von Bauks kanonhermeneutisch und biblisch-theologisch reflektiert und umrissen.

Insgesamt finde sich in diesem Buch damit alles, was man fürs Studium braucht: 

das Wichtigste über theologische Konzepte, altorientalische Traditionen, literargeschichtliche Entwicklungen sowie Impulse zur Hermeneutik des Alten Testaments.

This uniquely organized volume is comprised of three major divisions:

  1. Introduction
  2. Theological Themes in their Biblical Contexts
  3. Old Testament Theology as Polyphonic Speech of God

It also contains two appendices and the usual indices and listing of illustrations.  The very first sentence of the introduction describes the volume’s purpose:

Dieses Buch ist ein Lehrbuch, das die zentralen theologischen Themen des Alten Testaments/der hebräischen Bibel zusammenstellt.

Fulfilling that task, our author leads readers into the majestic vistas which comprise the Hebrew Bible.  But this is done in such a way that the pedagogical needs of Professors and students are central.  For instance, one of the tables included shows, in a quite useful way, the variety of approaches to the study of the Hebrew Bible:

Armed with this material, readers are able to trace the various ways in which the Bible can be studied and appreciated.

Another useful aspect of the volume is the inclusion of quite thorough and up to date bibliographies at the conclusion of each chapter.  For example, in part, after the discussion of the Psalms, we find

English entries are also included when deemed appropriate by the author.

There’s something else that’s unique about this volume and that’s its interest in the inclusion of the Old Testament in the preaching of the Church.  To that end, one of the appendices, Anhang 1: Alttestamentliche Themen und Texte in der Perikopenordnung, by Jochen Wagner, offers an outline of the Church year with appropriate readings for the Liturgical Calendar:

The second appendix provides religious education teachers an outline for a course in Old Testament.

In sum, this volume has an eye to the needs of the Professor, the student, the preacher, and the teacher.  It does a superb job in presenting the themes found in the Old Testament and explaining those themes in a clear and helpful way.  It is utterly enjoyable and thoroughly instructive.  I recommend it.

Ulrich Zwingli: Prophet, Ketzer, Pionier des Protestantismus

9783290178284Peter Opitz’s new book was sent along by TVZ some time back.  First of all, concerning the author, it isn’t necessary to say this but I will nonetheless just in case some readers are unfamiliar with the work of Opitz: there are very few scholars in the field of Reformation History who have his grasp of primary sources and secondary materials related to Calvin, Zwingli, and Bullinger.  Put more plainly, he knows the subject of this volume.

Second, concerning the volume, Opitz guides readers through four major aspects of Zwingli’s life and thought: his beginning as a Reformer;  Zwingli and the Reformation of Zurich; Zwingli and the Reformation of the Confederation; and Zwingli as a Protestant Pioneer.

Following the chronology of Zwingli’s life, Opitz, in around 120 pages, instructs readers as to the contributions of Zwingli to the Church and to the Reformation of Switzerland and further afield.  Opitz provides ample citations from Zwingli himself, thereby bolstering his argument and the publisher illustrates the volume with really lovely contemporary (and nearly contemporary) artwork.  For instance, here are a few of the illustrations that are included in the volume:


The most valuable, and necessary, part of the volume is Opitz’s treatment of the question of Zwingli and the re-baptizers. Here Opitz undermines the various myths and legends associated with Zwingli’s attitude towards and treatment of the members of this movement. I describe it as the most valuable and necessary because this is one of the areas where there’s so much misinformation constantly repeated that a correction is indispensable.

The fact that Opitz rightly grasps Zwingli’s significance is made most apparent when he writes

Es gibt keinen theologischen Gedanken Calvins, der nicht zuvor schon in der Zwinglischen Reformation diskutiert worden wäre. Sowohl historisch als theologisch ist Zwingli, nicht Calvin, der Urvater des reformierten Protestantismus (p. 110).

And again

Präsent ist Zwinglis Denken nicht nur im Presbyterianismus und in der Mennonitischen Theologie, sondern auch im Anklikanismus und im Methodismus (p. 111).

Zwingli is the unrecognized and unacknowledged and thus unappreciated fount of the theology of many Christian strands of thought to the very present. Opitz reminds us of that fact if we have forgotten it and teaches it to us if we have never learned it.

In terms of style, Opitz is a very fine communicator who writes with fluidity and congruency. Thought flows to thought with hardly any disruptions or intrusions of non-essential rabbit chasings.

Finally, the volume has one further very positive aspect: it debunks the nonsense spewed by Karl Barth about Zwingli in his lectures on the great man. Persons familiar with those lectures will find here in Opitz’s little book the perfect antidote to Barthian misprision. Barth may have found Zwingli an insurmountable Himalaya, but Opitz knows better and spaces Zwingli in the proper context of his time and place.

This is a magnificent book. I enjoyed it from the first page through the brief bibliography at its conclusion. I can only recommend it but were it possible, I would command it to be read. Especially by the Barthians and the misinformed Lutherans who, rather than bothering with Zwingli himself, instead bow the knee to the Baal of Barth and Luther and parrot their partisan viewpoints.

When it comes to Zwingli, Opitz is better informed than Barth and Luther, combined.

Tolle, lege.

Zwingli, Zwingli, Zwingli…

Because many know little of him-

On Zwingli’s Birthday: 24 Treatises

Nr. 1 Das Fabelgedicht vom Ochsen (lat.), (Herbst 1510)
Nr. 2 Das Fabelgedicht vom Ochsen (dt.), (Herbst 1510)
Nr. 3 De gestis inter Gallos et Helvetios relatio, (Herbst 1512)
Nr. 4 Der Labyrinth, (Frühjahr 1516)
Nr. 5 Gebetslied in der Pest, (Ende 1519)
Nr. 6 Zeugenaussage zu den Soldverträgen mit dem Ausland, 1521
Nr. 7 Predigtworte zu den Soldverträgen mit dem Ausland, 1521
Nr. 8 Von Erkiesen und Freiheit der Speisen, 16. April 1522
Nr. 9 Acta Tiguri 7. 8. 9. diebus aprilis 1522, (April 1522)
Nr. 10 Eine göttliche Vermahnung an die Eidgenossen zu Schwyz, 16. Mai 1522
Nr. 11 Supplicatio ad Hugonem episcopum Constantiensem, 2. Juli 1522
Nr. 12 Eine freundliche Bitte und Ermahnung an die Eidgenossen, 13. Juli 1522
Nr. 13 Apologeticus Archeteles, 22./23. August 1522
Nr. 14 Von Klarheit und Gewißheit des Wortes Gottes, 6. September 1522
Nr. 15 Eine Predigt von der ewig reinen Magd Maria, 17. September 1522
Nr. 16 Suggestio deliberandi super propositione Hadriani Nerobergae facta, (November) 1522
Nr. 17i Aktenstücke zur ersten Zürcher Disputation: I. Die 67 Artikel Zwinglis
Nr. 17ii Aktenstücke zur ersten Zürcher Disputation: II. Das Ausschreiben der Disputation
Nr. 17iii Aktenstücke zur ersten Zürcher Disputation: III. Der Abschied der Disputation
Nr. 18 Handlung der Versammlung in der Stadt Zürich auf den 29. Januar 1523 (Erste Zürcher Disputation), 3. März 1523
Nr. 19 Entschuldigung etlicher Zwingli unwahrlich zugelegter Artikel, 3. Juli 1523]]

Nr. 20 Auslegen und Gründe der Schlußreden, 14. Juli 1523
Nr. 21 Von göttlicher und menschlicher Gerechtigkeit, 30. Juli 1523
Nr. 22 Quo pacto ingenui adolescentes formandi sint, 1. August 1523
Nr. 23 De canone missae epichiresis, 29. August 1523
Nr. 24 Vortrag zur Reformation des Stifts, (September) 1523

A Brief Bio of Zwingli, For His Birthday

Having been struck in the head, Zwingli collapsed to the ground. Stunned, he began to pray and to recite Scripture—‘do not fear those who can kill the body but fear him who can kill the soul in hell …’. As the last word passed beyond his lips and into the hearing of the Catholic soldier standing over him, the soldier struck again and this time the blow was fatal. Zwingli’s comrade in arms, hearing his last utterance and seeing the death blow, fled. The troops from Zurich were scattered like sheep without a shepherd and Zwingli died alone on the beautiful meadow near the Monastery of Kappel-am-Albis.

After the rout, the Catholic troops were looting the bodies and piling them for burning when one of them looked at Zwingli and recognized him. Announcing his find to his victorious comrades, incredible rejoicing broke out and many gathered at the place where Zwingli lie. They stripped him of his helmet and his clothing, chopped him into four pieces, threw his body in the fire, and watched gleefully as he burned to ash. So ended the life of the first of Switzerland’s reformers on the 11th of October, 1531; a life that had begun 47 years earlier on the 1st of January, 1484.

Zwingli was born in the little town of Wildhaus to Huldreich and Margarita Zwingli. To this day his birth home remains as both tourist attraction and subtle reminder of the powerful impact his existence made on the life of his beloved Switzerland. His father was the equivalent of a village elder and his rather large family was wonderfully pious. His mother was especially devoted and both of his parents were certain that Huldrych would be well suited to the Priesthood with his quick and witty mind and his native brilliance.

While young, Zwingli learned to love music and became proficient in the use of about 10 instruments. The oft repeated misrepresentation that Zwingli hated music was simply not true. When he engaged in Reform he simply saw so much Church music as self serving on the part of singers and musicians (organists in particular) that it actually distracted from true worship and so he banned it.

At ten years of age Zwingli was sent to Basel to study and then to Bern and Vienna (at around fifteen years of age) where he earned a Bachelor’s degree. By 1506 he had earned a Master of Arts at Basel’s famous University and then shortly after celebrated his first Mass at his hometown before moving to Glarus to take up his priestly office. It was while he was in that picturesque village that Zwingli poured himself into his studies of the Bible, led by the urgings of Erasmus, who was then the leader of learning in Switzerland and across western Europe. According to his own testimony, it was in 1515 that the ‘reformatory’ spirit began to stir in his heart so that when he moved to Einsiedeln (in 1516) to serve the congregation there, he was already pursuing the beginnings of Reformed thought.

The Kappel ‘Milk War’

At the end of 1518 Zwingli was approached by friends in Zurich who urged him to move there and serve as the Pastor of the largest church in the city, the Grossmünster, the ‘Great Minster’. There was opposition to this move, however by a few of the leaders of the Zurich church who had heard that Zwingli had engaged in inappropriate behavior with ‘a leading citizen’s daughter’. When he learned of the charge Zwingli wrote a fascinating letter to one of the members of the ‘Zurich search committee’ in explanation of the affair on the 5th of December, 1518, the following (excerpted)-

One of the most learned and amiable of our friends [Oswald Myconius] has written to me that a rumor has been spread in Zurich about me, alleging that I have seduced the daughter of a high official, and that this has given offense to a number of my friends. I must answer this calumny so that you, dear friend, and others, can clear my life from these false rumors … First, you know that three years ago I made a firm resolution not to interfere with any female: St. Paul said it was good not to touch a woman. That did not turn out very well.… As to the charge of seduction I needn’t take long in dealing with that. They make it out to concern the daughter of an important citizen. I don’t deny that she is the daughter of an important person: anyone who could touch the emperor’s beard is important—barber forsooth! No one doubts that the lady concerned is the barber’s daughter except possibly the barber himself who has often accused his wife, the girl’s mother, a supposedly true and faithful wife, of adultery, blatant but not true. At any rate he has turned the girl, about whom all this fuss is being made, out from his house and for two years has given her neither board nor lodging. So what is the daughter of such a man to me?… With intense zeal day and night even at the cost of harm to his body, [I] study the Greek and Latin philosophers and theologians, and this hard work takes the heat out of such sensual desires even if it does not entirely eliminate them. Further, feelings of shame have so far restrained me that when I was still in Glarus and let myself fall into temptation in this regard a little, I did so so quietly that even my friends hardly knew about it. And now we will come to the matter before us and I will cast off what they call the last anchor taking no account of public opinion which takes a poor view of open resort to loose women. In this instance it was a case of maiden by day, matron by night, and not so much of the maiden by day but everybody in Einsiedeln knew about her … no one in Einsiedeln thought I had corrupted a maiden. All the girl’s relations knew that she had been caught long before I came to Einsiedeln, so that I was not in any way concerned.… To close: I have written a good deal of facetious chatter, but these people don’t understand anything else. You can say whatever you think suitable to anyone who is concerned. (G.R. Potter’s translation and selection of the letter to Utinger, Z VII, 110ff).

Zwingli’s actions are naturally inexcusable to us, but they are actually quite tame among the practices of many 16th century priests, who were known to have large families, mistresses, and who engaged in various illicit behaviors simply because they had been granted a ‘papal indulgence’. That being said, this isn’t an attempt to justify, but to contextualize. Being ensnared by the village tart is not quite the same thing as pursuing various sexual conquests. Finally on the matter, it so troubled Zwingli that he regretted it his entire life, thoroughly repented of it, and never again engaged in such behavior.

Zwingli was in fact called to Zurich. He moved to the city at the end of December and assumed his duties on the first of January (his birthday), 1519. He immediately set in motion real reforming efforts beginning with abandoning the lectionary and instead preaching first through the Gospel of Matthew and then other New Testament texts. A wind of change had swept Zurich and it would never be the same because the theological landscape was forever altered by the arrival of the First Swiss Reformer.

But before long another wind blew into Zurich. An ill wind. The wind of the Plague, the black death. Up to two-thirds of the population of the city was wiped out between 1519 and 1520 before the disaster ran its course. Zwingli himself fell ill and during the course of his illness he penned one of his numerous songs: the so called ‘Plague Song’, which begins

To thee I cry:
If it is thy will
Take out the dart,
Which wounds me
Nor let’s me have an hour’s
Rest or Repose!
Will’st thou however
That death take me
In the midst of my days,
So let it be!

When disaster struck, Zwingli turned to God in faith and in pious trust. This was the kind of man which the city had called to be the Pastor of the Great Minster.

Reform began slowly but surely, first with worship. Lent was abandoned as a man made tradition in 1522 and by 1523 the Mass itself was replaced with ‘The Lord’s Supper’. Silver ‘Mass utensils’, cups, and bowls were replaced with common wood. Tables were set up in the Sanctuary so that the Supper more resembled a supper. Images were removed, worship was reorganized, and the Reform gained speed and strength through a series of public debates which Zwingli and his colleagues in Reform easily won.

But troubles soon would follow, with Zwingli being attacked from within the city by the ‘re-baptizers’, the Anabaptists, who wanted more change faster than either Zwingli or the city could bear. From without, rising clouds of disharmony within the world of Protestantism would burst into storm clouds when from the north Luther attacked Zwingli’s view of the Supper. And of course there was conflict aplenty with the ‘Old believers’, the Catholics still attached to Rome.

The last years of Zwingli’s life were spent in conflict. On the one hand the Radicals were denouncing him as the ‘great satan’, once marching in protest to his house next to the Great Minster and pummeling it with eggs, crying out ‘away with the dragon’. And on the other Luther spent the years 1526–1529 insulting and denouncing him for his view of the Lord’s Supper. At one point in this period Zwingli became so depressed that he tearfully offered his resignation to the city Council but they wisely refused it.

The rift with Luther over the Lord’s Supper resulted in what is perhaps the most famous gathering of the 16th Century, the Marburg Colloquy. There, at Marburg in 1529, Philip of Hesse summoned Luther and Melanchthon, Zwingli and Oecolampadius (and others less well-known) to discuss and, if possible, come to agreement on their view of the Supper so that ‘Protestantism’ could present a united front against the Catholics. Philip, as a politician, was naturally more interested in consolidating Protestantism for military purposes than he was in solving the problem of Eucharistic disagreement. His effort failed. Miserably. By the end of the three days of discussion, the participants had agreed on a number of issues but concerning the Lord’s Supper there wasn’t, and still isn’t, agreement between the Reformed descendents of Zwingli and the Lutheran descendants of Luther. The resultant document was signed by all participants and states, in its final article:

Concerning the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ

Fifteenth, we all believe and hold concerning the Supper of our dear Lord Jesus Christ that both kinds should be used according to the institution by Christ; also that the mass is not a work with which one can secure grace for someone else, whether he is dead or alive; also that the Sacrament of the Altar is a sacrament of the true body and blood of Jesus Christ and that the spiritual partaking of the same body and blood is especially necessary for every Christian. Similarly, that the use of the sacrament, like the word, has been given and ordained by God Almighty in order that weak consciences may thereby be excited to faith by the Holy Spirit. And although at this time, we have not reached an agreement as to whether the true body and blood of Christ are bodily present in the bread and wine, nevertheless, each side should show Christian love to the other side insofar as conscience will permit, and both sides should diligently pray to Almighty God that through his Spirit he might confirm us in the right understanding. Amen.

Martin Luther
Justus Jonas
Philip Melanchthon
Andreas Osiander
Stephan Agricola
John Brenz
John Oecolampadius
Huldrych Zwingli
Martin Bucer
Caspar Hedio

That desire for ‘Christian love’ never panned out. When Zwingli died, Luther rejoiced.

The greatest conflict, however, was and would remain with the Catholic Cantons. Reform was anathema to them and they simply refused Zwingli (and others’) attempts to persuade their citizens to leave the Catholic faith to become adherents of the upstarts. Leaders of the Catholic forces went so far as plotting to murder him had he attended a disputation in Baden. Getting wind of the plot, the Zurich City Council forbade him to attend, instead sending his colleague Leo Jud.

The situation with the Catholic Cantons came to a head in 1529 when they met the Reformed Cantons in the field at Kappel-am-Albis in battle. Zwingli was the Chaplain of the Zurich troops and arrived at the site heavy hearted that things had come to such a pass. Fortunately, a diplomatic solution was reached before casualties were suffered.

Two years later, though, the Catholic forces and the Reformed Zurichers returned to the same field with startlingly different consequences. So we return to where we began in this chapter: at the field of Kappel and the death of Zwingli.

Zwingli lived a tremendously full and productive life in spite of its temporal brevity. He wrote hundreds of tractates and books, many hundreds of letters, and preached thousands of sermons. He made incredible contributions to theology and his efforts on behalf of Reform laid the foundation for the work of his successor, Heinrich Bullinger, who can be rightly credited with taking the Reformed movement international.*

*J. West, “Christ Our Captain”: An Introduction to Huldrych Zwingli. Quartz Hill, CA: Quartz Hill Publishing House.